Big Blocks

pns_big_blocks_smallThe beauty of blocks is their simplicity. They invite us to create, and collaborate!

Recently children at PNS spent the morning making houses, ramps, bridges, train tracks, sewing studios and an imaginary world inhabited by a mysterious creature called “the snitchet.”

Harvest Feast

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Last week PNS celebrated the harvest season with its annual feast. Families enjoyed soup, pumpkin and corn breads, butter and jam all prepared by the kids. What a delicious ending to fall!

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Classroom update: The Feelings Wheel

An emphasis of PNS’s play-based curriculum is social and emotional learning. For many students nursery school is one of their earliest experiences outside of the home and gaining comfort and confidence in a classroom setting is a goal for many families. One way the teachers at PNS support this goal by teaching students to identify and name their feelings, empowering them to communicate their emotions to others and to recognize what those around them are feeling. This learning happens in many forms: through play, through stories and puppet play at circle time, and by drawing and story telling.

One project that the class does every year to support social and emotional learning is the creation of a Feelings Wheel. This year the children began to relate looks and feelings to words by making self portraits and studying their own faces using mirrors. Drawing from typical experiences in the classroom, Kristen and Teri developed scenarios that tapped into different emotions and asked the children to describe or show how they would feel in that situation. The teachers captured those expressions on camera and, finally, the students revisited the photos to discuss what they saw and to create the wheel itself.

The end result is different every year but is always a useful tool to have in the classroom. Having actively participated in its creation the kids feel a great deal of ownership over the Feelings Wheel and willingly use it to give voice to their feelings.

Fall Festival

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The Parents’ Nursery School Fall Festival is held every October. This event is put on by current families at the school who organize games, crafts, a bake sale, live entertainment and more. The festival is a popular time for PNS alumni to come back and visit the school and catch up with teachers and friends. It’s also a great time to connect with other local families who want to learn more about PNS and to enjoy an event that helps raise money for the PNS scholarship fund.

Apple season

 

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Last week the class made apple sauce. This harvest time tradition at Parents’ Nursery School goes back decades and is featured in the PNS Cookbook. Published in 1974, this book includes simple recipes that have been used at the school over the years. Many recipes focus on whole, seasonal foods. This passage from the book’s introduction perfectly summarizes the value of cooking in the nursery school classroom.

Going beyond the readymade product, children learn that not all soup comes from cans, nor bread from packages . . . There is a tremendous amount of learning involved in cooking — motor, sensory, conceptual, and social skills all have a part to play. 

Perhaps most importantly, the kids love to cook! Children can participate in whichever parts of the process interest them–from taking a turn peeling the apples with our red-geared contraption, to chopping and examining the fruit’s tiny seeds. Finally mashing and adding cinnamon before loading the apples into the pot to boil and fill the classroom with the sweet scent of apples and spice. At snack time we got to try the finished applesauce. Yum!

peeling_2 Peeling.

choppingChopping.

mashingMashing.

thumbs_upMost importantly, tasting: two thumbs up!

Carrots are in!

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Despite the summer’s dry weather the annual carrot crop at PNS is in! Every fall students have the chance to experience the thrill of pulling an edible treat out of the school’s vegetable garden. Will the orange root be long or short? Twisted, hairy or bulbous? This fun hands-on activity starts off a broader fall harvest unit culminating in a November Harvest Feast prepared for the school’s families by the students and their teachers.

 

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After pulling a carrot the children can take their treasure to the sink to wash and enjoy fresh from the earth or save to take home and share.

back at it!

Kristen and Teri welcomed new and returning students to school last week. The 2016-17 school year is off to a busy start as children explore the classroom and get to know their new classmates!

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Follow Parents Nursery School on Facebook!

Our teachers are gearing up for another great year at PNS! In the meantime, please follow PNS on Facebook here, where our teachers often post pictures of daily activities at the school. We have a few remaining spots for 2016-2017 enrollment, so please visit our admissions page if you would like further information.